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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Young North Korean Defectors Face Bullying at School

About 1,500 young North Korean defectors attended primary and secondary schools in South Korea, and they often have trouble adapting to a new school life due to discrimination and cultural differences.

Some 256 North Korean students dropped out of school over the last four years, accounting for 7 percent of all North Korean schoolchildren here. That was seven times the overall dropout rate of 1 percent. Among the dropouts, 73 or 28 percent left school because they failed to adapt. It is estimated that there are many more such students who find it difficult to keep up with their schoolwork or are ridiculed or bullied by their classmates.

Young North Korean defectors often feel left out because they do not share the same cultural background and assumptions as their classmates. "It's hard for me to not just change my North Korean accent but to understand some South Korean abbreviations or the many foreign words other children are using naturally," a middle-school student said. "They were nice to me at first, but they found it more and more difficult to communicate with me because I grew up in a different environment." Read More